Most schools filter and manage internet access to protect students from inappropriate online content, this filtering also ensures schools are complying with legislation for example in the US the Childrens Internet Protection Act. However, is the intention of Internet filters to protect students or the schools.?
Pornography on school computers
Schools face legal liabilities if they allow pornography on the school network. Most people would agree that teachers who view pornography on school computers or during the work day deserve to be fired. There have been cases where this has not happened and teachers have been allowed back to teach because of incorrect disciplinary procedures and lack of complete or accurate evidential proof. Many school IT departments now have web filters in place blocking access to inappropriate websites. As web filters log all activity including websites that people have accessed or attempted to access, it makes it easier for IT or HR to find proof of misconduct. With the increasing sophistication of web filtering technology it makes it more difficult to surf inappropriate sites without being caught. Schools using web filtering technology know exactly what is going on in real-time on any school computer inside or outside the school firewall. This means they’re protecting the school from legal threats and protecting your students from “accidental” exposure to inappropriate content.
Filters should not impede or restrict a students or teachers legitimate work
Filters should not impede or restrict a students or teachers legitimate activity if it does you need to check you are using the correct solution and that the setting and policies in place are as you need them to be. Many teachers and students find filtering system overly restrictive for example not allowing access to some classic literature sites based on perhaps an inappropriate filtering policy setting.
A flexible and powerful web filter will allow the user to easily fine tune policies eliminating the frustration caused by being overly restrictive. Some believe that filtering should be limited to pornography, which is the only thing the law requires and access should be allowed to other objectionable material under teacher supervision. The argument is that this helps students to learn.
What do you think, with the exception of pornography should schools allow open Internet access to students ?